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Last Updated: Monday, 19 April, 2004, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Birds reunited after winter apart
Ospreys in Cumbria
Thousands of people have seen the ospreys on the Internet
A female osprey has been reunited with her mate after returning to a nest in the Lake District in Cumbria.

Her return ends an anxious wait for the male who returned to the nest at Bassenthwaite one week earlier, after spending the winter in West Africa.

Ospreys have proved a regular treat for birdwatchers at Bassenthwaite over the last four years.

If the birds settle down to breed, as is now hoped, a 24-hour guard will be mounted to thwart egg thieves.

The ospreys spend the winter in Senegal and Gambia and then fly back via a hazardous journey through the Bay of Biscay and to Britain.

The arrival of the osprey pair in the Lakes in 2001 marked the natural re-colonisation of England by the fish-catching birds of prey after an absence of at least 150 years.

Attract visitors

The birds have raised four young since they first nested there and have attracted many visitors to the viewpoints set up by the Lake District Osprey Project.

Pete Barron of the Lake District National Park Authority said: "We are thrilled to see the ospreys back in the Lake District again this year and we hope that they will now settle down and lay eggs.

"The Lake District Osprey Project partnership is again providing sensitive, well-managed ways for local people and visitors to see the birds and discover more about this beautiful part of the Lake District."

Bill Kenmir of the RSPB said he hoped the birds would continue to nest in the region.

He said: "During the last few years the ospreys have captured the imagination of tens of thousands of people and have come to represent all that is most special about the Lakes."

The return of the ospreys comes as the female from England's only pair of nesting golden eagles is feared dead.

The eagle has nested at Haweswater, near Penrith, since in 1981 and would normally have been seen by now.

The RSPB's David Hirst told BBC News Online that he fears she may have died some time over the past couple of months.

The male golden eagle is still in the area and is putting on spectacular display flights in the hope of attracting a new female to join him.

Delight as osprey returns to nest
11 Apr 04  |  Cumbria
Concern for missing golden eagle
05 Apr 04  |  Cumbria
Osprey couple finally settle down
31 Mar 04  |  Scotland
Windfall for osprey project
23 Feb 04  |  Cumbria


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